UK website sees rise in number of house sellers21/01/2013 - 13:19:16
Further signs of a confidence boost in the UK housing market were reported today, as a British property search website said that the number of new-year house sellers had reached its highest level since 2008.
More than 11,000 new properties have been coming on the market each week this month, showing an increase of more than a fifth (22%) compared with a year ago, Rightmove said.
While the rate of new property listings is the highest seen in the month of January since 2008, the latest figure is still around a third lower than it was five years ago, before the full impact of the credit crunch.
However, it marks a "clear indication of improving confidence," and suggests that prices and sales will increase this year, the website said.
Rightmove said that traffic to its website also soared by 27% year-on-year in the first two weeks of 2013.
Sellers' average asking prices increased by 0.2% month-on-month in January across England and Wales to reach £229,429 (€273,345), representing a 2.4% annual increase.
The biggest hikes were seen in London, where the strength of the property market amid significant interest from overseas buyers has consistently outperformed the rest of the country.
Asking prices grew by 3.6% month-on-month in London to reach £480,890 - making them 9.7% higher than a year earlier.
Wales saw the biggest month-on-month fall, with a 3.5% drop taking average asking prices to £153,649 (€183,059) and leaving prices 2.5% lower year-on-year.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "With new seller prices up by 2.4% year-on-year, more sellers coming to market, and a new year jump in Rightmove traffic, early indicators offer reasons to be confident that both prices and transaction numbers will see a modest rise in 2013."
The website said its own research had shown that seven out of 10 people planning to put their property on the market in the next year would be moving for discretionary reasons rather than forced sales due to death, debt or divorce.
Mr Shipside said: "After five years of putting their lives and moves on hold with their spare space shrinking around them, it looks like some of the pent-up demand to move is breaking out."
Lenders and surveyors have also predicted sales pick-ups in 2013, amid signs that the mortgage market has improved in recent months.
Mortgage approvals to home buyers have been climbing and the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) also reported last week that it has seen an uplift in lending to first-time buyers.
Much of the uplift has been put down to a British government scheme introduced in August to boost lending by giving lenders access to cheap finance.
Lenders have been slashing their rates, while the number of the mortgages on the market has also increased since the Funding for Lending scheme started.
Rightmove also said that mobile phones are increasingly becoming a vital tool in the hunt for properties.
On Christmas Day, the proportion of Rightmove's pages viewed on mobiles more than doubled compared with normal levels, and has remained higher than average ever since.
Mr Shipside said: "How home movers research their local property market is certainly changing.
"It means sellers have to be mindful of attractive pricing and photography as our research shows the attention span of mobile device users on each property page is shorter, so you have to try harder to make a good first impression."
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